Immunization Advice From ACP: There's an App!

Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD


October 12, 2012

Response from Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; Past President, American College of Physicians

Adult Immunization Coverage: Improvement Needed

Immunizations are not just for kids. The deaths of more than 50,000 adults from vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States each year[1] is proof that adults need vaccines too.

Adult immunization needs a boost. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 2010, published in the February 2012 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (along with the latest adult immunization schedule), show that adult vaccination coverage remains low -- well below Healthy People 2020 targets.[2] Findings from the 2010 NHIS include:

Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap) vaccine coverage among persons 19-64 years of age: 8.2%;
• Pneumococcal vaccine coverage for high-risk adults aged 19-64 years: 18.5%;
• Zoster vaccine coverage for those aged 60 years or older: 14.4%;
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage for women aged 19-26 years with 1 or more doses: 20.7% (although data on adolescents from the 2011 national immunization survey showed that nationwide, 53.3% of females have received at least 1 HPV vaccine dose and 34.8% have received 3 doses)[3]; and
• Other included vaccine coverage: <70%.[1]

In February 2012, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) targeted all adults for Tdap booster.[4] Except for Tdap and influenza vaccination -- which is universally recommended for all adults (and everyone older than 6 months) every year[5] -- other adult vaccination recommendations vary by age, medical conditions, behavioral risk factors, occupation, and travel.